School Superintendent Claims “Worst Job Ever”

by Jean Tower

A local school superintendent was quoted as having said at a recent school committee meeting, “This is by far the worst job I’ve ever had” and “I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life,” and he went on to list teacher and garbage man as jobs he has held, both presumably better than school superintendent. (see article at The Item)

My reaction to reading these remarks today was shock (at first) and then wonder that this superintendent had somehow gotten into such a rough state that he would actually say these things, and at a public meeting!

The incident keeps popping back into my thoughts and I think about how thick-skinned, politically-savvy, and personally resilient the present day school superintendent is required to be. A quote from USA Today (below) about the high turn-over rate of school superintendents speaks volumes about the stress, long hours, and vast responsibilities of the job.

“According to a 2008 report from the Council of Great City Schools, the average tenure of a school superintendent is about three and a half years”

So, while I think the comments made were ill-advised and better left unsaid, rather than uttered in a public forum, I wonder what can be done to make the job of school superintendent a bit more reasonable.

On the other hand, I love my job, and can’t imagine going to work every day thinking I was doing “the worst job I ever had.” I hope that educators and administrators who are in that hate-their-job state of mind realize that it’s time for a change – for their own sake and for the sake of their colleagues and students.

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